Without a doubt, every parent always wants the best for their babies. They dedicate their time and energy to create a safe and stimulating environment for their babies to play and learn. On the bright side, there are plenty of great play mats that not only entertain a baby but also inspire their creativity.
These playmats also help toddlers strengthen their muscles using different activities and develop essential skills. So, what are the best playmats to buy in 2021? Well, hold on to that though first because our first question should be what are the most common types of baby playmats?
Baby play mats vary in different sizes, shapes, and sizes. They also have different kinds of activities to keep the baby entertained during playtime. Before purchasing a playmat it is important to understand your needs or where you will be using the baby’s playmat. This will help you get a clear idea of what you are shopping for. Here are some of the most common types of baby playmats.
By the time your little bundle of joy is three months old, he or she should spend about 1 hour of every day laying on their stomach. This helps in developing their motor skills and care strength and tummy time mats play a huge role by making their playtime entertaining.
These playmats are usually made of clear plastic and filled with water and floating toys. Water playmats give your little one a unique sensory experience and ample playtime with water without making a mess.
Most common activity gym play mats usually feature hanging toys for babies to play with when lying on their backs or playmats.
Well, now you have an idea of the most common types of baby playmats. Here are our top 10 picks of the best baby play mats to buy in 2021. So scroll on and do not forget to shop!
Best Overall Baby Playmat: Skip Hop Treetop Friends Play Mat
The Skip Hop Treetop Friends Play Mat provides a safe and comfortable environment for babies. It is packed with various activities that help babies to play, grow and learn. This a soft linen and a supportive pillow for tummy time.
The Skip Hop Treetop Friends Play Mat is an excellent choice for parents who are looking for a playmat with plenty of activities. Also, the calming nature sounds are a delight and the removable baby toys make playtime interesting.
- Has Nature-Inspired Graphics and Textures
- Comes with Five Hanging toys
- Has Linen and patterned arches
- Product Dimensions: 36 x 36 x 19 inches
- Product model number: 307275
- Batteries required: Yes
- Product Weight: 2.91 pounds
Best Value Playmat: Tadpoles Soft EVA Foam 36 Piece ABC Playmat
The Tadpoles Soft EVA Foam 36-piece ABC playmat is one of the most unique giant playmats with lots of puzzle pieces. This playmat provides a warm and ideal environment for the baby to play while learning.
It has a total of 96 foam pieces that kids will love taking apart and putting back together in creative ways. In addition, this playmat can be used to furnish playrooms with lots of floor space.
- Has 36 huge puzzle pieces
- All pieces interlock
- Letters or numbers are removable
- Product Dimensions: 72 x 72 x 0.4 inches
- Product model number: cpmsev504
- Batteries required: No
- Product Weight: 6 pounds
Best pick: Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
Whether your toddler enjoys their playtime or you are looking for fun ways to introduce playtime to your little one. The Fisher-Price Deluxe kick and play piano gym is an excellent choice. It offers 4 different ways to play and it has different toys that can be repositioned in various ways.
This play gym has smart stages technology from Fisher-Price. These stages include level 1 -playful music and lights. Stage 2- animal noises and short instrumental songs. Stage 3- colors shapes and numbers. If you’re looking for a playmat and gym that will help your baby develop and hold their attention the Deluxe Kick and play is your go-to gym playmat.
- Removable keyboard with 5 light-up keys
- 5 repositionable toys for baby to teethe, touch, rattle, and clack
- Soft, machine-washable play mat with loops to attach toys
- Product Dimensions: 27.01 x 36.02 x 17.99 inches
- Product model number: FVY57
- Batteries required: yes
- Product Weight: 3.8 pounds
Best Premium Baby Playmat: The Play Gym by Lovevery
The play gym by love very will help your baby through his or her learning stages. By providing your baby with activities to do, toys see and touch as they start growing. This playmat comes with almost every accessory a parent may need.
From bathing to teething, focus, and learning essentials. The Play Gym by Lovevery is a whole year of play in one box. Well, if you’re looking to spare no expense on your child’s development this playmat is an excellent fit for you.
- Has 5 development zones
- Accessories are organic and removable
- A playing guide
- Product Dimensions: 44 x 38 x 24 inches
- Product model number: 9000001
- Batteries required: No
- product Weight 7.6 pounds
Best Water Playmat: Gebra Inflatable Tummy Time Sea Turtle Water Mat
This water playmat comes in the shape of a big friendly sea turtle. it is filled with floating sea and land creatures that capture the attention of a baby giving him or her long periods of tummy time.
Its bright colors and fun texture contribute to the development of the sense of sight and awareness. Be it you’re preparing to introduce your baby to tummy time or you are looking to juice things up during playtime the Inflatable Tummy Time Sea Turtle Water Mat is an ideal pick.
- 8 vivid floating sea creatures
- Bright colors and clear graphics
- safe to use
- Product Dimensions: 43 x 35 x 2.5 inches
- Item Weight: 1.48 pounds
- recommended age: 3 months and up
- Batteries required: No
Best Playmat for Tummy Time: Bright Starts Tummy Time Prop & Play
This charming mat comes in the shape of a friendly bear. It has a propped-up head and attachments that keep the baby busy and learning during playtime. The Bright Starts Tummy Time Prop and Play have a variety of colors and textures that help to stimulate the senses of a baby.
This playmat features attached toys that promote reaching out and grasping. These motions in turn help the development of your baby’s shoulder, back muscles, and arms. In addition, the rattling and crackling sounds capture the attention of the little one.
- Has three detachable toy attachments
- Comes with a matching prop pillow
- Product Dimensions: 36 x 32.5 x 5 inches
- Product model number: 10841-3
- Batteries required: No
- Product Weight: 15.8 ounces
Best Large Baby Playmat: Bammax Play Mat
The Banamex play mat is an ideal playmat that creates a soft place for baby’s and toddlers to play in comfort. Its waterproof nature makes it an excellent choice for new crawlers or little ones enjoying tummy time.
It is important to note that this mat does not have any accessories or toys attached to it. However, it has a foam base and a glossy surface that provides a great surface for any kind of toy.
On the flip side, it also features a car track design that is perfect for playing with toy cars. Its colorful illustrations and car track patterns encourage a baby to engage in pretend play as it helps build their imagination.
- Skidproof and non-toxic
- Convenient and reversible
- Large and thick
- Package Dimensions: 35.9 x 16.5 x 4.75 inches
- Product model number: BMAEG10
- Batteries required: No
- Product Weight: 4.34 pounds
Best Portable Baby Playmat: Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym vintage Boy
The Infantino Twist and Fold is one play mat that your baby will go gaga for. Its soft and inviting play space encourages the development of their sensory and motor skills such as grabbing, reaching, and visual tracking.
This playmat incorporates everything a toddler requires in an activity gym into a packable design for easy storage or travel. This makes it an ideal playmat for parents who love traveling a lot.
- Has a soft tummy time bolster and a peek- a -boo mirror
- Has four toys
- Can twist and fold
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 29 x 10.75 inches
- Product model number: 206-353
- Batteries required: No
- Product Weight: 2.84 pounds
Best Sesame Street Baby Playmat: Bright starts fun with Sesame Street Friends Activity Gym
Sesame Street Friends Activity Gym features 9 friendly characters from the beloved children’s show. This mat is one of the most budget-friendly play mats on our lists. It helps keep the baby entertained and active while positioned either on their stomach or back.
This playmat aids toddlers to develop the core strength that will help them sit up by themselves. Well, if your kid is an Elmo fan then the Sesame Street Friends Activity Gym playmat is an ideal addition during his or her playtime.
- Sesame street characters
- Four detachable toys
- Product Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 18 inches
- Product model number 12125
- Batteries require: No
- Product Weight: 14.6 ounces
Best Folding Baby Play Mat: Regalo My Play Mat
Unlike other foam playmats that are disassembled after playtime or rolled up like a gym mat. The Regalo My Play Mat is designed with crevices that make it easy to fold and store. This playmat also features different designs on each side that help your little bundle of joy develop sensory stimulation while playing. If you’re looking for a foam mat that is less hectic to use during playtime and store after playtime the Regalo My Play Mat is an excellent fit for you.
- Extra Large
- Educational and reversible
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 70 x 71 inches
- Product model number: 4100 DS
- Batteries required: No
- Product Weight : 3 pounds
Guide to selecting the best Baby Playmat.
Parents often end up spending more time on the floor with their newborns for longer than they expect. A high-quality play mat can come in handy.
They not only make any floor surface safe for your baby but they also often feature built-in games and toys to entertain your toddler while they sit or lie on it. They can always bring their toys to the playing environment too if they feel like it.
Playmats are Baby Safe
As your baby’s body develops muscularly so does their immune system.
A baby shouldn’t spend too much time lying on the carpet or a wooden floor. A playmat provides a clutter-free environment for your baby to play on while providing additional support for your baby’s growing body.
There are cushioned playmats that can be made from a broad range of raw materials and provide a conducive environment for your baby to experiment on their body and develop their motor skills.
However here are the main factors to consider before buying the best baby play mat or gym.
Baby playmats and gyms should be sturdy and made of quality material. This ensures that they can’t rip or shred from tiny baby fingers. Buying a quality playmat will save you time and money and prevent avoidable risks caused by shredding and ripping.
- Safety and Material
Babies and children should NEVER play on playmats that can release toxic chemicals into their breathing space. Always ensure to buy playmats that are baby safe be it you prefer Foam or fabric.
Anything that a baby uses to play with should be washable. Whether you wipe it or throw it into the washing machine. It is best to invest in a playmat that can be easily washed or cleaned instead. Wash or wipe, Do not replace!
Baby toys tend to take too much space and playmats are no exception. When shopping for playmats always go for the ones that can be folded and stored easily. Playmats with foldable features are ideal for traveling. Also, if you have limited storage space you can go for foam playmats that can be assembled and disassembled into bits during storage.
- Thickness and Comfort
Everyone loves comfort and babies are no exception. While playing, learning, and working on their development toddlers require a soft comfortable space. Finding a playmat that gives your little bundle of joy comfort and space to move about during playtime provides the best learning environment.
When shopping for playmats it is recommended that you pick a large mat that will aid your constantly growing baby in different stages of their development. This is because small mats are outgrown by babies within a short period.
- Skills Acquired
Apart from all the safety issues, quality, and materials to choose from. You always want to have an educational play mat or gym that is fun. The best Playmats should be able to keep your child entertained during playtime. Here are some skills that the best playmats teach your little one.
Based on their purpose and design, baby playmats come in a variety of different materials. The following are some common materials found in top-selling baby playmats.
All materials used in baby products are required to be rigorously tested to ensure they are non-toxic and baby-friendly.
Lightweight foams like PVC or EVA are an awesome way of providing much-needed support without necessarily being very thick or heavy. This makes foam ideal for larger mats made for more active activities such as yoga or gym. A large foam play mat can even be used as a great picnic mat.
Plastic is frequently used because it is waterproof, durable, and smooth to touch. It is commonly used on playmats that hold water.
Playmats are designed with the comfort of the user in mind especially those made from fabric like cotton or polyester. Fabric mats are commonly made from a combination of fabrics to provide babies with more sensory stimulation.
Cleaning Your Baby’s Playmat
Since your baby’s body is still improving on its immune system. It is critical to keep their playmats clean, safe, and free of any unnecessary germs.
Babies can also be messy at times, so it is best to always clean up after spills, spit-up, or any other mess your baby makes on their playmat. Here are some pointers to keep your play mats in perfect condition while looking new for a long time.
- Foam and plastic play mats are best cleaned using a mix of vinegar and water. Vinegar is a gentle disinfectant that can break down stains. The best way to use this solution is by mixing equal proportions of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Allow the solution to sit on the play mat for about 2 minutes after spraying before wiping it off.
- A lot of cloth playmats are machine washable. If there are cloth components that cannot be cleaned in the washing machine, a soft cloth with a mixture of warm water and mild soap or detergent is your best bet in cleaning them gently.
- Playmats that hold water should be completely drained and stored to dry out. Even a small amount of leftover water can cause a playmat to grow moldy and become wrecked.
Playmats Help in Your Baby’s Development
Different playmats offer different activities and feature that aid in the development and growth of your baby. It is recommended that parents should at least buy two or more playmats for their little one. This helps in providing a broad range of experiences during a toddler’s development. The following are some benefits parents can expect from the playmats on our list:
- Gross Motor Skills
Babies develop their gross motor skills with the help of Playmats and activity gyms. Most parents prefer activity gym playmats since they strengthen the child’s muscles.
A non-breakable mirror is a common feature of the many baby playmats that made our list. It allows your babies to spend time looking at themselves.
Most babies recognize themselves in a mirror as early as 5 months old and will begin to playfully make faces at themselves by the time they reach 9 months. These are important steps in developing self-perception.
- Sensory Stimulation
The most effective developmental activities for babies involve sensory stimulation which happens in the first few years of their lives. Therefore, baby playmats feature a variety of toys, textures, sounds, and colors that are specifically designed to engage the baby’s senses.
When your baby gets to teething age, most playmats with activity gyms even allow parents to hang teething toys from above.
- Reaching, Grasping, and Grabbing
Development of the conscious movement of a baby that usually starts developing at around 5 months. By this time should incorporate playmats that come with toys that can be easily reached, grasped or grabbed by the baby.
- Cognitive Development
You will help your babies learn the cause and effect through their actions by providing toys and activities that your baby can play with by themselves. This will eventually act as the building blocks of logic.
For instance, the first time a baby triggers the lights and sounds of a hanging play gym toy, it may influence them to experiment to confirm if they can repeat the same activity.
- Visual Development
Babies are short-sighted when born and objects that are far away can be hard for them to see clearly.
The optimal visual range of a newborn is between 8 -12 inches from their face. This is the reason why most play mats come with activity gyms that are designed to place visual stimuli in this range. This encourages the babies to look closer and begin recognizing details.
- Hand-Eye Coordination
Babies develop fine motor skills on play mats that provide lots of different toys to touch and manipulate. Playmats include lots of different shapes and materials of play objects that will embolden babies to reach out and grab.
Learning to use their hands to manipulate an object is an important part of your baby’s early development.
- Tummy Time
The most common use for a baby play mat is tummy time. Physical activity is the key to ensuring that your baby’s muscles are developing in order. It is important that when buying a tummy time playmat always ensure to buy one that will keep your baby entertained for longer periods.
FAQQ: Why does my baby need a playmat? A: playmats are essential during playtime. They make excellent educational toys that can be enjoyed by a baby. Playmats are superb when it comes to entertaining toddlers while giving them a sensory experience at the same time. Q: What is the best play gym for infant development? A: Play gyms are unique play mats that provide multiple play activities for the baby. It generally includes an optional overhead structure or soft surround that will the toys your baby will be interacting with. Play gyms also tend to have music, sounds, or flashing lights that will capture the attention of your baby during playtime. Play gyms also help in developing the gross motor skills for your baby. If you’re out shopping for the best play gym for your little one, always ensure to buy two or more pieces since all playmats are different. This gives you and the baby an opportunity to choose his or her best play gym. However, you can never go wrong with the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym Q: What is the best playmat for tummy time? A: Babies require plenty of tummy time as long as they can tolerate being on the floor. However, if you are planning on introducing tummy time to your young one or making it interesting. Water playmats come in handy during this time since they capture the attention of your baby and help them lie on their stomach for longer periods. Q: Are foam baby play mats safe for babies? A: Yes, Foam mats are safe. However, it is important to always understand that the main key to the safety of your little one is supervision. Before playtime always ensure all activity mats that need to be interlocked are done properly. Also if you want to increase your child’s creativity assist them when assembling or disassembling their activity play mats. Q: Which is the best large playmat for babies? A: Playmats come in handy during playtime. Whether your baby is playing in the playroom, sitting room, or outdoors it is important to have a playmat that covers the entire surface that your baby will be playing on. Whether you are looking for a playmat that can act as a picnic mat for you and your baby or you are looking to cover a large surface so that your baby can have plenty of space. The Bammax Play Mat is an ideal choice to go for. Q: Can I put a baby play mat in a playpen or crib? A: No, playmats Only And Always be used on the floor. NEVER place a baby’s playmat In a crib or playpen. Instead, you can use crib toys whenever your baby is playing in the playpen or crib. Q: Can I hang other toys from the crossbars? A: Gone are the days that you needed to hang toys from crossbars for your baby’s to play with them. Currently, when purchasing playmats, different playmats come with different accessories and toys attached to them. So no, do not hang other toys from a crossbar. If you are looking for a playmat that comes with hanging toys please check out the The Play Gym by Lovevery.
Playmats are essentials during playtime since they create a safe space for your toddler to begin learning the fundamentals of life in a fun way. They have different learning features such as patterns, music, toys, and colors that can help build your baby’s self-awareness, early cognition, and motor skills. While playmats have a vast variety of opportunities built into them, have fun pursuing our list, and do not forget to purchase a playmat that your baby will get the most out of.